PGE’s Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility Begins Generating Power

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Portland General Electric Co. (PGE), an Oregon-based fully integrated energy company, says it has started commercial power generation at the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility in eastern Oregon. 

Wheatridge is a joint project of PGE and a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC. The new facility marks a milestone in Oregon’s acceleration to a clean energy future and will play an important role in achieving PGE’s recently established company-wide goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

“Customers want and expect cleaner energy sources,” says Maria Pope, president and CEO of PGE. “This is an exciting step toward the completion of this important resource and adds to our growing wind generation portfolio. We deeply appreciate the partnerships that make the Wheatridge project possible, with NextEra and with the transmission services teams at the Bonneville Power Administration and Umatilla Electric Cooperative.”

Wheatridge will be one of the first large-scale energy facilities in the U.S. to combine wind, solar and battery storage resources at a single location. The 300 MW wind farm is now complete and delivering power to PGE customers. The 50 MW solar and 30 MW battery facilities will be completed by the end of 2021.

With the addition of Wheatridge’s wind farm, PGE’s wind generation portfolio now totals more than 1 GW nameplate capacity, available from five owned or contracted wind farms in the Northwest. When complete, the solar and battery storage facilities will be among the largest in Oregon.

Located just northeast of Lexington in Morrow County, Ore., Wheatridge’s wind farm generates power using 120 wind turbines manufactured by GE Renewable Energy Inc. The facility uses a mix of 2.3 MW and 2.5 MW machines. Final selection of the specific equipment to be used at the associated solar farm and battery storage facility is still pending.

Up to 300 jobs were created at Wheatridge during construction of the wind farm. Up to 175 workers will be employed to build the solar and storage sites. Approximately 10 full-time employees will operate the combined facilities once all three components are fully commissioned for service.

Power from the project will reach PGE customers in Portland and the north Willamette Valley via a new transmission line, constructed by Umatilla Electric Cooperative, that connects Wheatridge locally with the Bonneville Power Administration’s regional high-voltage grid.

PGE now owns 100 MW of the wind project. A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources owns the balance of the project and will sell its output to PGE under 30-year power purchase agreements. The NextEra Energy Resources’ subsidiary is building and will operate the combined facility.

PGE expects to invest approximately $155 million for its owned portion of the project.

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